The Medicine Buddha or
Bhaishajyaguru, has been represented in various mediums of art in
various ways. Here he has been depicted seated in vajraparyankasana on a
lotus throne. His right hand is in the gesture of varada (charity) and
bearing the stem of the myrobalan, a medicinal plant. His left hand is
resigned on his lap in the gesture of meditation. The almost closed eyes of
Bhaishajyaguru indicate deep meditation. His lips are upturned, and
earlobes elongated. The neck has three folds (trivali). The hair,
painted in a blue colour, is arranged in curls with prominent ushanisha.
is a jewel on the top of the head. The body is slim and proportioned. The
facial expression conveys compassion, peace and serenity. His slightly
heavy monastic garment, covering the left shoulder only, has been incised
medicinal plants and flowers that continue even on the reverse of the
sculpture (see accompanying image). The
border of the drapery is incised with stylized designs. The lotus throne
has eleven lotus petals that do not go all around the back; however, the
portion of the throne depicts the auspicious mantra in the praise of Manla
Medicine-Buddha in a late Tibetan letter.
The cult of the Medicine or Healing Buddha is much popular in Tibet, China
and Japan. He is the physician of human passions, and the unfailing healer
the ills of samsara. According to a tradition, for the sake of lay patients
sick disciples, the Buddha appeared as Bhaisajyaguru and taught Rgud-bzhi
(Science of Medicine) at Sudarshana, in Sanskrit. Sudarshana is Indra's
palace on Mount Sumeru. The Buddha stayed here for four years in the
medicine forest. The Buddha created this forest with a mountain plateau on
which he manifested Sudarshana. Various Devas, Sages, Buddhists and
non-Buddhists surrounded him. To turned the wheel of medicinal science, he
became Bhaishajyaguru and attained the Samadhi called 'expelling 404
diseases." Bhaishajyaguru is said to dispense spiritual medicine when
Alice Getty, The Gods of Northern Buddhism, Tokyo, 1962.
A. Waddell, Buddhism and Lamaism of Tibet, Delhi, 1979 (reprint)
D. Snellgrove, The Image of the Buddha, Delhi, 1978.
Click Here to View the Reverse of the Statue
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